Leeds University Library

Liddle Collection Guide

Cards showing women doing war work

or view full search page

The Liddle Collection, awarded Designation status, documents and preserves first-hand accounts of individuals who experienced the two World Wars. It was started privately in the early 1970s by the military historian Dr Peter Liddle and was established as part of Leeds University Special Collections in 1988.

It includes the personal papers of well over 6,000 people who lived through the First World War and over 500 who experienced the Second World War. It holds photographs and drawings, official and unofficial papers, manuscript diaries and correspondence.

The collection contains the papers of men and women directly affected by war, both those who were members of the armed forces and those who were not, and of British and non-British individuals alike.

Searching the Collection

The Liddle Collection is arranged into two main sub-collections: WW1 and WW2. Each sub-collection is arranged into series, according to geographic area or nature of service. An individual's papers are kept together and listed by name under the relevant series heading. The WW1 sub-collection also contains over 750 tape-recorded and transcribed interviews of individuals talking about their First World War experiences.

View the main sections of the WW1 catalogue

View the main sections of the WW2 catalogue

Liddle Subject Indexes

The Liddle Collection indexes act as cross-references to the Liddle Collection. The WW1 Liddle General index is the largest, containing over 600 subject index terms and over 12,500 unique entries. Additional, specific indexes relate to other sections of the collection: WW2; the Domestic Front and the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy.

Search the Liddle Collection Indexes

Printed Books

A complementary printed book collection related to the First and Second world wars are available to consult in the Special Collections reading room.


As well as holding archival material, the Liddle Collection contains over 1500 artefacts. These objects are documented in the third sub-collection of the Liddle Collection catalogue: Museum Objects.

View the main sections of the Museum catalogue

Special Collections requires 1 week notice to retrieve artefacts and access is subject to health and safety and conservation restrictions.

An online exhibition of British First World War propaganda posters from the Liddle Collection can be viewed here.